Cocoa nibs, caramel and chocolate entremet

by Chiara

Because of their natural and intense chocolatey taste, cocoa nibs are an interesting way to add texture and rich chocolate flavors to desserts. They’re essentially crushed pieces of cocoa beans, which have the bitter, tang flavor of unsweetened dark chocolate.
This means that they make for a natural partner to sweet ingredients like caramel and white chocolate, and that pairing is just delish!

Cocoa nibs are combined here in this mousse cake with a soft 72% dark chocolate brownie, a runny and lightly salted caramel and a sweet and airy white chocolate mousse. The brownie has a slight bitter tang which means that the salted caramel layer on top provides a contrasting burst of sweetness, which also contrasts with the tang of the cocoa nibs infused in the white chocolate mousse and used as a crunch base for the cake.

The recipe is for a Ø 18 cm x H 4 cm mould and it is gluten-free. These are the main components:

  • Gluten-free cocoa nibs croustillant
  • Gluten-free 72% dark chocolate sponge brownie
  • Soft salted caramel
  • White chocolate and cocoa nibs mousse
  • White chocolate mirror glaze

If you make this recipe, don’t forget to leave a comment or tag me on Instagram. I’d be more than happy to hear from you all. Seeing your creations makes me the happiest person beyond everything!
And, of course, if you have any questions or doubts about this recipe and/or pastry techniques in general, feel very free to write me. I’ll do my best to respond you as quickly as possible ♡

Cocoa nibs, caramel and chocolate entremet

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Serves: 6-8
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat

Ingredients

Gluten-free 72% dark chocolate sponge brownie
80 g Araguani 72% dark chocolate (or the good quality 72% dark chocolate of choice)
112 g heavy cream 35% fat content
32 g acacia honey
1,25 g (¼ tsp) Maldon salt
60 g soft butter, to room temperature
12 g sweet almonds oil (or the seeds oil of choice)
48 g eggs, to room temperature
60 g Dulcita brown sugar (or caster sugar)
56 g rice flour (or the gluten-free flour of choice)
12 g cocoa powder 22-24%
12 g rice starch (o cornstarch)

Gluten-free and dairy-free hazelnuts crumble (for the croustillant, recipe below)
40 g light cane sugar (o caster sugar)
14 g brown rice flour (or plain rice flour)
54 g hazelnuts flour
36 g Teff flour (or rice flour)
a pinch (⅛ tsp) Maldon salt
33 g hazelnuts oil (or the seed oil of choice)
40 g acacia honey

Gluten-free cocoa nibs croustillant 
30 g cocoa nibs
15 g maple syrup (grade C, preferably)
78 g gluten-free and dairy-free crumble (recipe above)
38 g Bahibé 46% milk chocolate (or the good quality milk chocolate of choice) 
38 g Gianduja 39% milk chocolate (or raw hazelnuts butter) 
a pinch (⅛ tsp) Maldon salt

Soft salted caramel
83 g caster sugar
93 g glucose syrup DE 40 (1)
43 g glucose syrup DE 40 (2)
43 g whole milk 3,5% fat content
175 g heavy cream 35% fat content
1,5 g Maldon salt
60 g soft butter, to room temperature

White chocolate and cocoa nibs mousse
150 g whole milk 3,5% fat content
45 g cocoa nibs
4 g gelatin sheets Gold strength (200 Bloom)
20 g cold water to soak the gelatin sheets
186 g Waina 35% white chocolate (or the good quality white chocolate of choice)
200 g heavy cream 35% fat content, cold

White chocolate mirror glaze
92 g whole milk 3,5% fat content
80 g caster sugar
92 g trehalose sugar (or caster sugar)
172 g glucose syrup DE 40
10 g gelatin sheets Gold strength (200 Bloom)
50 g cold water to soak the gelatin sheets
208 g Waina 35% white chocolate (or the good quality white chocolate of choice)
80 g Absolu Cristal (neutral gelatin)
q.b titanium dioxide (white food coloring)

Assembly and decoration
Dulcey 32% chocolate flexible band 
Dulcey 32% chocolate rings
Dulcey 32% chocolate crunchy pearls
edible flowers

Instructions

Gluten-free 72% dark chocolate sponge brownie

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C, static mode. Line a micro-perforated baking tray with Silpat mat. Wrap both the external edges and the bottom of a 18x18 stainless steel frame with a sheet of aluminium foil. The foil should come up over the external edges of the frame. This will assure that no batter escapes from the bottom of the frame during baking. Place the frame onto the prepared tray.
  2. Melt chocolate in the microwave to 50°C.
  3. Heat cream, honey and salt until simmering. Add to the melted chocolate a little at time, stirring with a rubber spatula at each addition of liquids, in order to obtain a smooth and silky ganache.
  4. Once a smooth and silky ganache is formed, add in the soft butter and stir until it has completely melted. Add in the oil and stir until it is completely incorporated. Set aside at room temperature.
  5. In a bowl, beat the eggs together with the sugar without whipping them. Add in the lukewarm chocolate ganache and combine well with the spatula, until the batter looks smooth and homogeneous.
  6. In another bowl, mix together rice flour, cocoa powder and rice starch, using a whisk or a spoon. Sieve the dry ingredients directly over the chocolate batter, all at one time, then stir with the spatula until just combined. 
  7. Pour 300 g of the batter into the mould and level it out with a small palette knife.
  8. Bake for 18 minutes approximatively, until the brownie has formed a light crust on the surface and it is dry and soft to touch.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting a circle with a Ø 16 cm cake ring. I suggest to place the brownie in the freezer for about 1h (or 30 minutes in the blast freezer) before cutting it, so that it will be easier to cut. Store the brownie disc wrapped in clingfilm in the freezer until assembly.

Gluten-free and dairy free hazelnuts crumble (for the croustillant, recipe below)

  1. Place all the dry ingredients (sugar, brown rice flour, hazelnuts flour, Teff flour and salt) into a mini food processor and mix until obtain an homogeneous powder.
  2. In a bowl, mix oil and honey until almost smooth. Add to the food processor and pulse until obtain a crumbly mixture.
  3. Place the crumbs onto a baking tray lined with Silpat mat or parchment paper and freeze for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 160°C, ventilation mode. Bake the frozen crumble for about 15 minutes, until golden-brown. If it still looks soft, do not worry, as the crumble will harden once cooled.
  5. Remove from the oven and dust with cocoa butter powder (Mycryo) while it is still hot, to make it crispier and to prevent it from getting soggy. Allow to cool down at room temperature. 

Gluten-free cocoa nibs croustillant

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C, ventilation mode. Line a micro-perforated baking tray with Silpat mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the cocoa nibs with maple syrup, ensuring that cocoa nibs are well coated with maple syrup. Spread the mix onto the prepared baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes, until the cocoa nibs are caramelized and the maple syrup is reduced.
  3. Melt the chocolates together in the microwave to 45°C.
  4. Add in the cooled crumble, the cooled and caramelized cocoa nibs and salt and mix well so that everything is coated with chocolate.
  5. Spread the croustillant into a Ø 16 cm cake ring, ensuring to make an evenly layer of about 2-3 mm thick. Press the croustillant with the back of a teaspoon, to get an homogeneous and flat surface.
  6. Lift up the ring and place on top the frozen brownie, so that it adheres perfectly to the croustillant. Freeze until assembly. 

Soft salted caramel 

  1. In a saucepan, heat milk together with heavy cream, glucose syrup (2) and salt, just to bring to a simmer.
  2. In a second saucepan, heat sugar and glucose syrup (1) on moderate heat. Once the sugars start to bubble, mix immediately with a fine whisk, to perfectly combine sugar and glucose syrup into a thick syrup. Let it to caramelize on medium-high heat without stirring at this point, just until a golden-brown caramel is formed (170-175°C).
  3. Once the caramel is completely smooth and amber (170-175°C), remove the pan from the heat and deglaze it by pouring in it the hot liquids (the mix of milk, cream and glucose syrup), a little at a time, whisking constantly with the whisk at each addition of liquid, in order to obtain a smooth sauce.
  4. Bring the pan on heat and cook on moderate heat, whisking constantly, to reach the temperature of 105°C.
  5. Strain the caramel straight into a mixing glass and let it to cool down at room temperature, until it's 70°C.
  6. At 70°C, add in the soft butter and blend with the immersion blender to obtain a smooth, glossy and soft caramel. Cover with clingfilm touching the surface and chill in the fridge overnight (12 hours) to thicken. 
  7. The next day, the caramel will have a creamier and thicker texture. Transfer it into a piping bag fitted with Wilton #12 round nozzle and pipe the caramel on top of the frozen brownie, to make a spiral shape of 1 cm in thickness approx. Smooth out the caramel with a small palette knife, then freeze for about 1h in a blast freezer or for about 2-3h in a domestic freezer. The caramel will never be completely frozen (it's due to the high amount of sugar, which is a natural anti-freeze agent), but it should be even thicker.

White chocolate and cocoa nibs mousse

  1. In a saucepan, heat 150 g milk together with 45 g cocoa nibs, to reach the temperature of 60°C. The cocoa nibs won't melt, but they will give a beautiful chocolate color to the milk.
  2. Transfer into a mixing glass and blend with the immersion blender (if you use Bamix, use the multi-purpose blade), to break the cocoa nibs up into little bits. 
  3. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 3h. 
  4. After resting, the milk will be thicker and little fluid, but this is a natural and inevitable process, so don't worry. Stir the milk briefly to make it more smooth and fluid, then strain through a sieve and weigh it to obtain 100 g. If it weighs less than 100 g, add extra milk till obtaining 100 g.
  5. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water.
  6. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave to 45°C.
  7. Heat the cocoa nibs-flavored milk in the microwave, without boiling. Thanks to the heat, the milk will be more fluid. Add in the soaked gelatin sheets and stir to dissolve.
  8. Add the cocoa nibs-flavored milk to the melted chocolate a little at time (in 3 times, ideally), stirring with a rubber spatula at each addition of liquids, in order to obtain a smooth and silky ganache. Let it to cool down to 30-35°C. 
  9. Semi-whip the cold heavy cream in a light and soft consistency (soft peaks). Check the temperature of the ganache: when it is 30-35°C, add it to the semi-whipped cream in 3 times, folding gently with a rubber spatula in order to obtain a light, smooth and shiny mousse.
  10. Pour the mousse into the Silikomart Essenziale mould (Ø 18 cm x H 4 cm), filling it halfway. Using a teaspoon, spread the mousse up the sides of mould to eliminate any air bubbles and to avoid whitespace. Set inside the frozen insert composed from soft caramel, brownie and croustillant (with the soft caramel facing down, touching the mousse, and the croustillant upwards) and press it gently and slightly down, so that the croustillant sits flush with the mould. Remove any excess mousse and freeze for about 4h (or overnight, preferably) in a domestic freezer or for about 1-2h in a blast freezer.  

White chocolate mirror glaze

  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in 50 g cold water for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Partially melt the white chocolate in the microwave to 45°C, then transfer into a mixing glass. 
  3. Heat milk, caster sugar, trehalose sugar and glucose syrup in a saucepan to 104°C.
  4. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Emulsify with the hand blender without adding air bubbles and in order to obtain a smooth and shiny glaze.
  5. Heat up the Absolu Cristal in the microwave to 65°C and add into the glaze, followed by the soaked gelatin sheets. Emulsify once more without adding air bubbles. Add in the white food coloring and blend once again. 
  6. Pass the glaze through a sieve and pour into a flat container (like a baking dish, for example). Cover with clingfilm touching the surface and chill in the fridge for minimum 12h or overnight.
  7. Heat up the glaze in the microwave to 45°C, stirring it occasionally with a spatula, to ensure a proper melting. Transfer the melted glaze into a mixing glass and emulsify with the hand blender, ensuring the blade is submerged in the glaze and not showing, to avoid air bubbles. If you directly melt the glaze to 32-35°C (the temperature of usage), it will not be so shiny and glossy once you glazed the cake. Place cling film on the surface of the glaze and cool it to 32-35°C. You can place the glaze in the fridge or take it at room temperature.
  8. In the meantime, cover the working surface with two sheets of clingfilm, slightly overlapping. They will serve to collect the excess glaze. Place onto a Ø 14 cm metal ring.
  9. Once the glaze is 32-35°C, remove the entremet from the freezer and unmould. Place the entremet on top of the metal ring. Remove any condensation from the entremet by rubbing it with your hand. Ensure you work quickly and use the glaze immediately. Pour the glaze over the entremet, then wipe off any excess glaze on top of the entremet with a flat palette knife, angling it slightly and lifting it up at the edge. Allow the glaze to drip over the clingfilm sheets.
  10. When the glaze stops dripping, remove any excess glaze from the base of the entremet with a small sharp knife. Place the finished cake onto a plate and place in the fridge for approximately 4h to defrost.

Assembly and decoration

  1. Temper Dulcey 32% blond chocolate, following this tempering curve: 45/48°C (melting chocolate in the microwave or in water-bath) - 26/27°C (cooling 2/3 of chocolate over a marble table or granite table) - 28/29°C (the chocolate is ready to use). Tempering chocolate is an essential step for making smooth and glossy chocolate decors. The tempering process takes chocolate through a temperature curve, a process which aligns the cocoa butter's crystals to make the chocolate look smooth, silky and glossy an to prevent the chocolate to get a dull and grayish color.  
  2. Make the flexible chocolate band that wraps the base of the entremet. Cut out an acetate strip of H 6 cm x L 55 cm. Trace a diagonal from one corner to the other, so that the diagonal divides the acetate strip lengthwise into two isosceles triangles (meaning that at least two of its sides are equal in length), using a straightedge as a guide. Below you can find an explanatory image that will be helpful for you to better understand:
  3. Cut out this diagonal with the scissor, so as to obtain two isosceles triangles.
  4. Wrap the external side of a Ø 18 cm x H 6 cm metal cake ring with a H 6 cm acetate strip and secure the ends with sticky tape. This strip will act as protection between the chocolate and the cake ring.
  5. Place the acetate strip on a flat bench surface. You can lightly spray the surface of the bench with a no-stick cooking spray, to ensure that the acetate strip sticks perfectly to the bench. Pour a line of tempered chocolate lengthwise over the acetate strip and smooth the surface of the chocolate with a small palette knife until it runs over the end of the strip. Spread out the chocolate in a thin and even layer. 
  6. Lift the strip by using the tip of the paring knife and place the strip in one clean side of the bench. Allow to set slightly until the strip is pliable and not fully set (about 1-2 minutes, depending on the room temperature).
  7. Once the chocolate is almost dry to the touch, wrap the flexible chocolate band around the cake ring, with the chocolate side touching the ring and, therefore, the acetate strip. Secure the ends with sticky tape and allow to set completely at room temperature (18-20°C) overnight. 
  8. Make the Dulcey 32% chocolate decorative rings. Place an acetate strip approximately 4,5 cm in width on a flat bench surface. Drizzle some tempered Dulcey 32% chocolate onto the acetate strip and comb through the couverture with a plastic decorating comb. It has silicone teeth to ensure that clean lines are created. The teeth are set 2mm apart on one side, 3mm apart on the other. I've used the 3mm side.
  9. Lift the strip by using the tip of the paring knife and place the strip in one clean side of the bench. Allow to set slightly until the strip is pliable and not fully set (about 1-2 minutes, depending on the room temperature).
  10. As the chocolate starts to set, wrap the acetate strip around a Ø 14 cm metal cake ring (previously lined with an acetate strip, as described above for the flexible chocolate band), with the chocolate side touching the ring and, therefore, the acetate strip. Secure the ends with sticky tape and allow to set completely at room temperature (18-20°C) overnight.
  11. The next day, wrap the chocolate collar around the entremet.
  12. Garnish with 3 Dulcey 32% chocolate rings, Dulcey 32% chocolate crunchy pearls and edible flowers.

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1 Comment

Astrid 30 August 2021 - 12:18

Your work is sooo beautiful🥰
Can’t get my eyes off the beautiful creations.
Wish one day u make video tutorials
Love and Best wishes

Reply

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